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Jill

Howdy!

Sick of all the conflict and strife on social media? So am I.

When I have a few moments of free time, I like to jump on the internet and see what’s happening in the world. I usually check out the Big Three of Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but lately I find myself more irritated than anything with all of the bad news and conflict that shows up in my feed. So today I decided there had to be something positive on the interwebs and I went searching for some sites that focused on the lighter, more positive side of life. Mind you, this was a quick Google search, but I think I hit on some winners:

  • Sunnyskyz.com. Here you will find uplifting stories, cute animal pics, positive news stories, and fun videos. When you want to remember that good people still exist in the world, this is your landing place.
  • Hooplaha.com.  This site boasts “only good news”. It’s a little more grown up than Sunny Skyz – if you want something with a little more substance than cute animal pictures, this might be the place for you.
  • Positive.news – For serious news consumer, I give you positive.news. Politics, society, science, and the environment (plus more) are covered here in an uplifting light.
  • Goodnewsnetwork.org. This site was founded “as an antidote to the barrage of negativity experienced in the mainstream media”. It is here to remind us that there is still a lot of good in the world to report, even if we don’t hear about it on our radios or TV or major social media sites.
  • Bored Panda – Honorable mention goes to Bored panda because I find it interesting and fun. While it’s not necessarily a “positive” site, there is enough on here that makes me laugh and think that I decided to include it on my list.

This little exercise has already helped me feel better and less anxious. I encourage you to do your own digging and find even more positive news sites and share them. I’ve had enough of the arguing, bashing, and conflicts I see on the Social Media Trifecta. I think I’ll start making the above selections my first stops when I hop on the internet from now on.

joy painting brush

Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels.com

What are some of your favorite positive websites? What sites do you go to when you need to be inspired? Share in the comments below!

Successful weekend

Hello!

I had a busy yet successful weekend in that everything I had to do went off without a hitch – amazing!

I’m happy to report that my Harvest bag that I received on Friday did not need as much prep time as the week before. There were a lot of things in this bag that really only needed a good soak and scrub – onions, asparagus, oranges, grape tomatoes, grapes, butter lettuce…I can’t think of what else was in the bag. I spent less than an hour taking care of my produce and most of that hour was just washing and drying and putting away. Easy peasy!

Saturday was my youngest daughter’s 13th birthday and she invited a few friends to go to the mall and then back to our house for a sleepover. I know, that sounds like a nightmare, right? But actually it was all good – we spent a couple of hours at the mall (where I treated myself to a little something at Sephora) and then we went to Target, picked up pizza on the way home, and then the girls spent the rest of the evening just hanging out and playing outside (it was a GORGEOUS day – sunny and warm!).

Sunday morning I had a bit of a dilemma: I could stay home with the birthday party or take my middle daughter to her last club volleyball game of the season. My husband was away on a sporting event of his own, otherwise he could have taken her (or stayed home with the youngers). I had told the 13 year old that I would make muffins for them when they woke up Sunday morning, but I also didn’t want the 17 year old to drive to downtown Tulsa by herself, plus I just wanted to be there to watch her play. So I decided that since my son was home (he’s 21), and the girls would probably sleep late, that I would go ahead and go to volleyball with my daughter. The younger ones would just have to make their own muffins (which they did). At the volleyball game (this was actually a huge regional tournament) there were several vendors there selling fun things and I bought myself 3 fun tshirts and 3 pairs of fun dangly earrings for a very good price. I don’t typically buy things for myself often but between my Sephora stuff and the tshirts and earrings, it turned out to be a “treat yo’self” kind of weekend! I had planned on taking the birthday party guests home when I got home from the tournament, but when I arrived home early afternoon, the guests had already been picked up by their parents, which was kind of a relief because it would have meant over an hour of driving for me. Win!

Sunday afternoon and evening I was WORN SLICK from all the driving and thinking and planning and activity from the weekend. I pretty much just sat on the couch and watched Naked and Afraid until it was time for bed (I love that show – anyone else a fan?).

And that was my weekend. In years past, I would have been a frazzled mess over all the activity but I’ve learned to make these kinds of activities enjoyable for myself too, and that has made all the difference.

 

 

If your mom likes to read…

…get her some books for Mother’s Day! I just had an idea and real quick thought I’d post some of the books from my book club. We’ve been reading some really great books lately and with Mother’s Day just a little more than a week away, I thought I’d share some of the selections we’ve read to inspire you to get Mom a book. Thanks to magic of Amazon Prime, you can order these books and get them in time for May 13th (that’s Mother’s Day, y’all.)

Heartwarming story of a woman who realizes that the more people she lets into her life, the sweeter life becomes. I just finished this book and I loved it. I got this from the library, but I’m seriously considering buying a copy because I want to read it again.

The cover of this books is gorgeous once you get your hands on it – it’s embossed on the front and back, and the texture of the paper is divine. If you haven’t read this since high school, maybe it’s time to read it again?

If Mom likes a thriller, she’ll like this one. This book took a turn that I did not see coming – but it really works.

Does Mom like historical fiction? This is about a group of strong women who set out to escape their own lives by becoming melded with an Indian tribe in the Old West. Very beautifully written. (pssst…this one is $1.99 on Kindle! (as of this writing))

And here is something I would like for myself,

I have a clip on book light, but it’s a weird shape and it doesn’t stay put very well. I’m thinking something like this could be the answer to all my reading-in-dim-lighting problems! I’m going to drop a not-so-subtle hint to my kids to get this for me for Mother’s Day. 🙂

Okay, I know this was quick but I just wanted to dash off some ideas for those of you who are completely in the dark on what to get your Mom. I hope this helps!

 

Amazon links are affiliate links.

Don’t Forget the Fun

For the last few days I’ve been at war with my body image. Usually when this happens it’s because I feel like something is out of my control, and I direct that frustration towards my overly soft, chubby body, but this time I couldn’t really pinpoint what I felt I didn’t have control over. Our finances are fine (for the first time in a while), my kids are okay, marriage is intact…really I have no idea what brought on this onslaught of negativity towards my weight. The ONLY thing that’s annoying me right now is allergies – there’s so much pollen in the air and springtime in Oklahoma means the wind is blowing ridiculously all day every day (there’s a reason the line in the song is “where the wind comes sweeping down the plain” *sigh*). And when my allergies hit, there’s usually a little feeling of sadness that comes with it – so maybe that’s what was going on.

But as I drove to work this morning, I was scrolling through the Sirius XM channels and happened to stop on a new wave channel (read: 80s music). I heard some familiar tunes and then this song came on and for whatever reason, my sad little heart perked up and I sang my lungs out:

Sometimes God gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

I don’t know why this song did the trick – because of it’s bouncy rhythm? because it’s a fun memory from my early teenage years? because it’s just an excellent song for car-dancing???? I honestly felt a shiver go through my body and then I felt my mind shift into something more positive, and I realized that I have been missing a fundamental element of life in the last few weeks: FUN. I can’t think of anything I’ve done lately that was just pure fun, and after the last couple of rough weeks, I need a bit o’fun!

So I have to remember to build in some fun moments to every day – I need something to remind me that life is not just work and making dinner and beating my hair into submission…laughing and enjoying life are important too. And apparently, car dancing.

That Harvest Bag Life

I’ve mentioned here in the blog about my delivery of vegetables and fruits that I receive weekly from a local farm and how much I’ve enjoyed my bounty which I have dubbed The Harvest Bag (that’s not actually what the farm place calls them, but it sounds like it should be called that, right?)

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But I have learned something…there is something a bit dark that you’re not told when you order your first delivery…and it’s this: The Harvest Bag is a commitment. The Harvest Bag is a LIFESTYLE. The Harvest Bag requires attention, otherwise its contents will wither and die, not unlike those tiny digital animal keychains from the 90s (Tamagotchi, anyone?). I hate to admit that some of the produce from my first 2 bags ended up in the trash because I just didn’t understand that I needed to take care of things right away (or at least within the first couple of  days). What can I say? I was unschooled in the ways of vegetation and did not know what I did not know.

BUT when I got my bag last Friday, I was prepared with a plan. After work that evening, almost as soon as I walked in the door, I started taking care of business. I washed, I salad-spun, I chopped, I diced, I roasted, I steamed…I did everything humanly possible that I could to ensure that my produce would not go unused this week, and that it would not suffer the same fate as its Sister Bags had in the weeks before. All told, I spent about 3 hours of my Friday night tending to my little Tamagotchi vegetables. Such triumph! Such a dopamine rush! This morning I thanked my Friday Night Self for taking the time to prepare it all  – making my lunch salad was a breeze because the ingredients were already prepped and chopped and ready to go. It also makes throwing a balanced dinner together a snap.

And now that I know what I need to do, I’m confident that it won’t take me as long to prep the next bag’s contents on Friday night. Although it might help if I were to buy a bigger salad spinner.

 

Schedule Shmedule and the Dancing Queen

Yeah, about that whole schedule thing…it didn’t quite work out, did it? As with everything else I try to plan out, my great posting schedule was a bust. Oh well, I’m more of a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal anyway.

So what’s been going on with me lately? Let’s take a trip through my cell phone photos and see, shall we?

A couple of weeks ago, I was putting air in my tires at a local convenience store and fell into a shallow hole, rolled my ankle and went down like a sack of potatoes. It was a super graceful and dignified fall, and I did not utter a single bad word (this whole sentence is a lie).  When I fell, my knee landed on the metal fitting of the air hose. The bruise on my leg turned BLACK but I’m happy to say it’s nearly healed up now. Did you know that a bruise can itch like heck when it starts to heal? I know outer wounds will often itch when they are healing but I had no idea a deep bruise would as well. My ankle is still a bit swollen but it’s nearly healed also. This slight injury has put a halt on my Zumba, I’m sorry to say. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back at it soon.

Because I felt so bad, I bought myself a little trinket:20180418_094214.jpg

Isn’t she pretty? It’s a Buick Lacrosse – I love it so much! I didn’t really buy it because of my ankle – we’ve been looking at cars for awhile now because my old one was feeling it’s years. It was starting to have annoying issues and we were getting into that stage where we were tired of throwing more money into it than it was worth, so we traded it in for the lovely girl above. Going from that Yukon to this Lacrosse is like going from a rotary dial phone to a smart phone with all of its fancy features! I’m the kind of nerd who reads the owner’s manual, though, so I’ll get the hang of it eventually.

I don’t mind telling you, this week had been kind of really rough – we had an incident at work that had me anxious for a few days (a safety issue – all is well now), and my best friend was in a bad car accident – she fractured her foot, ankle, and tibia – so that had me super worried (she is on the mend – we are looking for some sparkly streamers to hang from the handle bars of her knee scooter), and the weather has been dull and gray and rainy and cold, which really messes with my mood. But today the sun is shining, and I woke up in a good mood finally. I actually woke up extra early and started my day with a luscious cup of coffee and a book (you can see I drained my coffee cup before taking this pic:

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and my Harvest Bag was delivered today:

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but most exciting of all is THIS:

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ABBA!! Dancing Queen was my first favorite song when I was like…five years old or something, and I had a CD of their greatest hits back in college – which my roommate (the bff from the above car accident) and I played ALL THE TIME. So naturally it warms my heart to hear that they are back at it. I may have to download that greatest hits album so I can listen to it in my new car. 🙂

That’s it for me today. I’m counting on this good day to keep going all day long. I mean, it’s not even noon yet so there’s plenty of time for things to go south. Fingers crossed they don’t.

Signed,

Cautiously Optimistic

 

Wednesday Wins

Hello hello!

I didn’t do a Mental Health Monday post because Monday was kind of a busy day and plus I just couldn’t think of a good topic. So I skipped it, which relieved my mental stress about it, so I guess these two sentences are my Mental Health Monday post. You’re welcome.

However, I DO have some wins for today’s post! Let’s get to it:

What are your wins for this week? Chime in below!

Friday Free Write: Tiny TP Edition

You guys…

*shaking my head*

I am in charge of ordering office supplies at work and I noticed that we were running a little low on the TP. We do all of our ordering online, and as I perused the various toilet tissue options available I noticed a 24 pack for a very reasonable price. I clicked on it, ordered it, and thought nothing else about it until it arrived a couple of days later.

You guys…

*still shaking my head in disbelief*

What arrived was indeed a 24 pack of toilet paper but it was the smallest rolls of TP I have ever seen in my entire life:

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This package of 4 rolls stands 8 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 3 inches across the top. The entire diameter of one roll is only 3 INCHES. Okay you probably can’t tell how tiny this is  from the picture so let me try again:

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The one on the left is a regular roll – it’s not even a jumbo mega roll (it might be the large roll, but not jumbo), just a regular size roll. The one on the right is the teeny roll that came out of the package JUST LIKE THAT.

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IT’S JUST SO ADORABLE! I mean it looks like it should be TP for an American Girl doll honestly. I imagine it’s what you would get if you bought a package of toy groceries:

It’s kinda like those cupcakes that are too cute to eat…I almost feel bad using a roll because it’s just so darn petite.

What I don’t understand is…why? Why would they make it so teensy and why would anyone need teensy rolls like that???? In what possible situation would anyone need rolls that have only 71 sheets?

Look, I have 3 teenagers at home – we go through  A LOT of toilet paper. I buy the 9 pack of mega jumbo rolls once a week and sometimes (Spring break, Christmas break, summer time, ahem) that mega pack doesn’t last all week. So it just boggles the mind that something like this would be available.

I guess if you live in a tiny house or an RV this would be useful, but you’d still have to buy it twice as often. It may not be terribly useful, but it certainly is amusing!

If you want your own tiny baby rolls of TP, you can order them here: https://amzn.to/2JoFapZ

Have you ever bought something online and it wasn’t what you thought it would be? Tell me below your tale of woe!! 🙂

 

Amazon links are affiliate links which means when you click on a link and buy anything within the next 24 hours, I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for clicking! 

 

Wednesday Wins: Teacher Walkout

Hello!

Here’s a big win for the week:

walkout

(source)

The walk out of teachers all across Oklahoma is the win for the week. I have a lot of teacher friends and I am proud of them for taking a stand and demanding better funding for education. It is utterly ridiculous how little our teachers are paid and the lack of funding they receive in order to do their jobs. Our average teacher salary is now 50th in the nation, yet our legislator salaries are 15th in the nation – you tell me how is that fair???? Twenty years ago, I was on track to become a teacher – I graduated with a teaching endorsement and my plan was to teach high school French.  At the time I was working at a popular retail store and was offered an assistant manager position – the starting salary was the same as the starting salary for a teacher in Oklahoma and because there aren’t a lot of teaching positions open for foreign language, I took the retail position. That eventually led to a career as an administrative assistant (if you wanna call that a career), and I am now making more money than most teachers in my area. AND I don’t have to grade papers, or attend school functions, or any other number of things teachers have to do when they’re not actually in the classroom. It just doesn’t seem logical that we pay teachers (and EMS workers and police officers – you know, people who SAVE LIVES) so very little when their jobs are so incredibly important. Makes ZERO sense.

Anyway, I hope this walkout does some good for the teachers in Oklahoma. Yes our legislature voted last week to give teachers a raise, and the teachers are grateful, but honestly it just wasn’t enough. That raise would have gotten our teachers up to speed in salary…if the year was 2006. And that is why they are still at our state capitol, talking to legislators, and asking for more money. Because when you need $100, a ten dollar bill just isn’t going to help much.

I think this is a great example of standing up for what you need and knowing you are worth what you ask for.

 

 

Mental health Monday: 3 apps that keep me sane

Hello again! I thought today I’d give you a run down of how I use apps to keep me from flipping my lid on a day to day basis. Some of these I use every day, others I only use occasionally but I like knowing they are there if I need them.

First up:

Simple Habit

simplehabit

Simple Habit is a meditation app. I love this app because I like to think of it as meditation for normal folks. There’s not a lot of woo-woo going on here (maybe a teensy bit, but that’s all). The meditations are short – anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on how much time you want to spend, and although you can sign up for a paid account, there is plenty of free content to keep you occupied for quite a while. Why meditate? Here ya go:

Benefits of Meditation

And like Simple Habit says, “it’s a daily vacation for your mind.” I don’t know about you, but I need all the vacation time I can get. Available for Android and iOS.

Next up, You Need A Budget (YNAB)

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Late last year I decided that I was finally ready to take control of my money and stop living in a scarcity mentality. Oddly enough, getting a budget has increased my peace of mind exponentially. But this budget app is different than any stale, boring, old-fogey budget – this budget has a sense of humor and a laid back style that makes it attractive to someone like me. There are 4 rules to YNAB: 1) Give every dollar a job, 2) Embrace your true expenses, 3) Roll with the punches, and 4) Age your money. I’m still learning to work with all the steps but this has been so helpful to me. It actually helped me set up a category for my daughter’s cheer fees, so that when it came time to pay the $300 fee, I had the money ready to go and could write the check with no anxiety. That’s a major win for me! YNAB offers a 34 day free trial, live online classes, and personal support. I’ve been really happy with them so far. I might do a post just for this sometime in the future. Available for Android and iOS.

Lastly, how about a game?

hue

This is a puzzle game in which you have to rearrange colored squares into their proper hue-order. It’s actually much more relaxing than it sounds, but it can be somewhat challenging. What I love most is the dopamine hit I get when I finally solve a puzzle and feel like super smart person. I’m not a huge game player, but sometimes I just need something simple to focus on when I have some downtime, or when I’m stuck in a gym watching volleyball for 10 hours, or when I’m waiting to board a flight. In a world of multitasking, sometimes it just feels good to focus on one single thing.

 

What apps do you find are essential for your sanity? Have you used any of the apps I mentioned? I’m always on the lookout for fun apps, so share in the comments some of your favorites!

 

 

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